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View Poll Results: we would appreciate hearing from cruisers with their experience of the m.v. discovery, in particula
paulberg@optushome.com.au 0 0%
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Old 07-01-2006, 05:14 AM
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Old 09-06-2006, 02:06 AM
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Paul I recently did a visit to the ship which I have submitted as a review but here it is again though it doesn't answer your query re excursions. On our tour we visited a number of cabins on Bridge and Promenade Decks and I have some notes. Are there any particular cabins you are interested in?

Review of visit to M.V. Discovery 27 August 2006

This is not a ship that is reviewed very often so the information that I gathered on a tour of the ship may be helpful to anyone contemplating a cruise on her. Voyages of Discovery run a program of visits whenever the ship is in port. The visit is a one-hour self-guided tour of the ship, and then lunch and costs £20 ($38 at 1.90 to £1) but this will be credited against a future booking. We had to be at Harwich ready to board the ship at 10.45am. Lunch was called at 11.45am and all visitors had to leave the ship at 12.45 when boarding started for its next cruise. There were over 100 people on our visit but everyone soon spread out around the ship. Discovery had provided a deck plan, which was marked with the available show cabins.

We decided to tour from top to bottom and started by checking out the Sun Deck. This has the Yacht Club alternative (no charge) restaurant, the Lido with a retractable glass roof over the pool, and the Beauty Salon and Gym. The Yacht Club is a lovely setting with big windows overlooking the bow of the ship. My wife was very impressed by the reasonable prices in the beauty salon where hair dressing costs less than at home. Then we started our tour of cabins on Bridge Deck. The Category A and B suites were sumptuous and spacious but had views obstructed by the lifeboats. The suites on the Promenade Deck had unobstructed views. All the cabins on the Bridge and Promenade Decks have full baths and showers whereas on the other decks cabins only have showers.

Riviera Deck is where all the main public rooms are located plus the second swimming pool at the stern. At the bow of the ship is the Carousel Lounge, which has a stage and raked seating to give good views of the stage shows over the heads of those seated in front of you. It also has a dance floor. There is a small bar in this lounge. Heading towards the stern next is the Discovery Theatre used for films and lectures. Either side of this is the photo gallery on the port side and the very attractive Palm Court Lounge on the starboard side. Then comes the Bridge Club card room on the port side and the Explorer Bar on starboard. Finally the library occupies the starboard side and the Discover Lounge overlooking the swimming pool through ceiling height windows occupies the rest. This is a piano lounge with a dance floor. The overwhelming impression of these public rooms is how light and airy they feel. Huge picture windows run the entire length and the décor is typically Princess Cruises from where the ship originated in 1972 as the original Love Boat of the US TV Series. It sailed with Princess until 1999.

Apart from the shop on the top floor of a two-story atrium, the Pacific Deck is all cabins. The Bali Deck has the lower level of the atrium and the reception and excursions desk, plus cabins. Finally the Coral Deck has on it the Seven Continents Restaurant, the medical centre and more cabins. The restaurant being on the lowest passenger deck only has portholes to provide an exterior view, but is again really light and airy. This is where we enjoyed a four-course meal with wine and coffee, served very efficiently by the friendly Philippine staff. While our wine with lunch was free I took the opportunity to check out the wine list prices. Glasses of wine ranged from £2.10 to £2.70 ($3.99 to $5.13) and bottles started at £9.95 ($18.90), which is very reasonable. UK brochure prices on Discovery include gratuities to your cabin steward and wait staff.

As is very common on ships of this age and size (21,186 tons) most of the lower grade cabins are quite small, only 135 square feet and most are only twins that cannot be converted into a double bed. We saw a few, both insides and outsides with twin beds in an L shape where the cabin seemed extra small but we were assured that they were also 135 square feet. The brochure does not identify bed layouts or which cabins are doubles, so if this matters to you make sure what you are booking. If you want a larger cabin then you need to chose from Promenade or Bridge Decks where grades A to F start at 194 square feet and go up to suites of 430 square feet. The ship also has a few single cabins and a few cabins adapted for those in a wheelchair.

Would we go on it? Yes, for some of its unique itineraries like Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands where we would spend the extra for a bigger cabin. But probably not for routine itineraries where we could spend much less per day for a bigger cabin on a larger ship with even more facilities with P&O, Princess, Celebrity or Holland America. We certainly liked the ship a lot more than Saga Ruby that we tried earlier this year, which is a comparably sized ship.
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